China’s growing superpower status and appetite for blockbusters is reshaping the film industry in Australia, where film-makers are being lured by lucrative co-productions
When martial arts blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 earned an astronomical US$854m in China last year – making it the second-highest grossing film in a single market ever – two things happened. First, the economic might of the Chinese film audience was thrown in the spotlight again; soon, commentators enthused, it would eclipse North America as the biggest in the world. Second, commentators couldn’t stop noticing the film’s nationalistic elements.
One writer combed the film for evidence of China’s geopolitical strategy; the Australian newspaper even called it “Communist propaganda”. (The fact the film climaxes with a morally impeccable ex-People’s Liberation Army soldier stabbing a callous American mercenary in the brain possibly helped this angle along.) Hollywood movies were once regularly accused of “cultural imperialism”, but the rah-rah flag-waving of a Michael Bay film is now so familiar as to be invisible. Yet when China does the same, everybody takes notice.
Link : Enter the dragon: how Australia became China’s gateway to Hollywood